Playing House

I have no idea how many houses I've designed in my life. At least in my mind, or on napkins, things like that. Probably, we all have, right? Moats, drawbridges, trees growing in the living room, you name it. Opening your mind to all the possibilities is a lot of fun. 

And you can bet that as we hatched this plan to move to Ridgway and create a homestead, we've been scratching out house ideas on napkins for a while now. Of course, just because you can make a drawing of an idea, doesn't mean that it's even remotely buildable. We soon realized that if we weren't careful, we'd be designing ourselves into some tight spots and painful reappraisals. 

Enter Chief Architect. This Texas-based company makes software for budding amateur architects like yours truly, to let our fancy take flight, while they make sure in the background our designs are buildable, practical, would meet applicable codes, etc. At first I balked at the $200 price tag, but in retrospect I can't imagine going through this process any other way. Let's just say, it's nice to live in the computer age!

Our house layout will have roughly 2200 sq feet of living space on two floors, and a 600 sq ft deck. Three bedrooms and two and a half baths, plus an extra study, will allow for some comfortable spaces for guests. The main feature of the house will be a cathedral ceiling great room with a woodstove and a two story picture window wall looking towards Cimarron Range and Uncompahgre Peak. 

A rendering of what the house might look like when done, when seen from the south east. Note the large picture window wall and wrap around porch. And Skillet will have a fenced yard again!

A rendering of what the house might look like when done, when seen from the south east. Note the large picture window wall and wrap around porch. And Skillet will have a fenced yard again!

A view of what the full homestead might look like. Detached two car garage with full woodworking shop in rear. Fenced off area to right of house includes a small orchard, plenty of free range chicken forage, and a 50 ft long greenhouse. 

A view of what the full homestead might look like. Detached two car garage with full woodworking shop in rear. Fenced off area to right of house includes a small orchard, plenty of free range chicken forage, and a 50 ft long greenhouse. 


1st floor of the house plan. A large great room with a glass front wood stove will be the main hangout area. Note the large wrap around deck connected to the front entry porch. 

1st floor of the house plan. A large great room with a glass front wood stove will be the main hangout area. Note the large wrap around deck connected to the front entry porch. 

2nd floor of the house plan. Mostly the master suite and an office loft. A small study will have a pullout sleeper sofa.

2nd floor of the house plan. Mostly the master suite and an office loft. A small study will have a pullout sleeper sofa.

A full basement will include two window wells and a couple additional windows as well. This basement will be unfinished at first, finishing it will be a future "someday" kind of project. To elevate the deck on the main level, this basement will only be sunk into the ground five feet or so.

A full basement will include two window wells and a couple additional windows as well. This basement will be unfinished at first, finishing it will be a future "someday" kind of project. To elevate the deck on the main level, this basement will only be sunk into the ground five feet or so.